Kevin Garside: Liverpool and Luis Suarez could have acted with grace - instead they emerge as villains over the biting incident
The striker was today handed a 10-game ban - a decision Liverpool look likely to appeal against
The independent panel erred on the side of reason with their ten-match ban for Luis Saurez. His acceptance of guilt was undone to a degree by his plea for a lesser penalty. Three he thought would do, demonstrating how little he understood the revulsion of English football for the craven savagery of biting.
How it compares to the eight-match ban for racist abuse is a debate for another day. Clearly both offences are unacceptable and would not be tolerated in kids let alone adults. There have been some thoughtful words spent on this issue from Liverpool folk. No less a figure than Jamie Carragher rolled out a host of previous offences by former Kop greats that did not meet with the same moral opprobrium as this act of madness.
The problem for Suarez is the pattern involved. He has bitten before. Once we can tolerate. Twice looks like he doesn't care. The racism incident does not help for it colours our view of what type of individual he appears to be. Though we should perhaps tread cautiously with that approach since none of us know him like his colleagues.
If Carragher is prepared to vouch for him there is, arguably, a well-adjusted soul in the Saurez interior somewhere. Perhaps it would have been better had he and his apologists not sought to shift the ground from the moral to the legal and accepted unconditionally any punishment the authorities deemed appropriate.
Instead a campaign to lessen the blow with a lighter sentence diminished the value of his contrition. Had he and Liverpool said nothing except sorry, awaited a verdict and accepted it with grace, he might not be quite the villain he appears now.
There will be some who argue that any club would have acted in the same way to defend their interest and the player's. That might be so but the answer to that is the interests of the game are greater than both. The ban reflects that.
Latest in Sport
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao live: Mayweather puts on defensive masterclass to win by unanimous decision
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin on Sky Sports Box Office?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does the fight start and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather's mouthguard costs $25,000 - enough to fly to Las Vegas and back 18 times
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds